To begin with, immediately after the election and inauguration of Abraham Lincoln, the newly-established Republican Party’s presidential nominee, eleven states of the South seceded from the Union. These events marked the beginning of the Civil War and the war was a result of many political tensions that had emerged between the North and the South in the prior decades, all of which were associated with the institution of slavery installed in the Southern United States.
President Lincoln began the Civil War with the South in response to states’ secession from the Union, and therefore, the war was not solely concentrated over the issue of slavery in American society. The North fought to preserve the Union while the Confederacy fought to protect states’ rights. The contributions of African Americans for the Union war effort in the Civil War pushed the federal government. But controlled largely by the Republican Party, to fundamentally change the purpose of the war itself, changing the course of the conflict, and therefore, the social and political consequences that followed in the Reconstruction Era.
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Slavery was one of the primary disputes between the north and the south before the civil war continued to be a major debate throughout the war and contributed greatly to the North’s victory. In the first few years the Civil war in 1861 began were four open questions among Northerners and Southerners with regard to the slaves: First, would they rebel? Second, did they want their freedom? Third, would they fight for their freedom? And, finally, would they know what to do with their freedom if they got it? The answer to each question was yes, but in a manner that reflected the peculiar experience of blacks in white America. (Doc A) there was a consensus in the Union that the war was being fought over the Confederacy’s claims to protection of slave property and the power states’ rights over the federal government. Originally, the war was not fought for the emancipation of African-American slaves in the South. Major Benjamin Butler of the Union army was unsure of the status of fugitive slaves he encountered in the South and he asked the secretary of war if Union forces have the right to liberate these people. Additionally, Major Butler realized that these African-American men, women, and children could potentially be helpful in the Union’s war effort (Doc A).
The war was between states’ rights and the power of the national government to maintain the Union. For 40 years the questions of states’ rights were deflected by compromises and questions about nullification action by states when they disagreed with the federal government. Finally, it did take a civil war to determine who was right – those of states’ rights or those of federal control. The outcome said that the federal government had the final say. Hundreds of Americans died to settle this argument, but not one of them was a slave Plantation/production resistance given the option, slaves made very clear that they wanted freedom.
The vast majority of slaves, however, remained on their plantations in the countryside. Nevertheless, even these slaves in the Southern interior contrived to work considerably less than they had before the war. African Americans bled and struggled for their lives against slaveholding traitors. (Doc B) African Americans escaping from slavery beginning in 1861, and continuing throughout the war, whenever the proximity of Union troops made successful escape likely, slaves abandoned their plantations by the hundreds, even the thousands.
The process of successful slave escapes began in Virginia, in Union–held territory across the Potomac from Washington and around Fort Monroe at the tip of the Virginia Peninsula in Hampton Roads. In May 1861, three slaves fled to the fort and claimed sanctuary because their masters were about to take them South to work on Confederate fortifications The U. S. Constitution said the slaves were 3/5ths of a person. The U. S. Supreme Court said they were property which could be bought and sold on the market. The slaves were not citizens, so they could neither vote nor sign contracts.
Slaves had no rights whatsoever. The South wanted to maintain their cultural system which was based on slavery. In order to do that they would have to secede from the Union and form another nation. They seceded from the Union and formed the Confederate States of America. The Union said that was illegal and the states would be considered in a state of rebellion, and the United States would take action to see that they returned to the United States. The war was fought over the question of slavery, but the 4 million slaves had nothing to say about it.
Ex-slaves in the army it was first unclear that the North was entirely serious about this regiment. The unit was supposed to be made up of volunteers, but the first soldiers were acquired by sending white troops on raiding parties into the refugee camps and hauling back any able-bodied black men they could find. They were, for example, the first known military unit to consistently return from battle with more soldiers than those which with they entered. Slaves on outlying plantations, seeing them in uniform, simply laid down their hoes, picked up discarded guns, and followed the troops back to their camp.
Overall, about 180,000 blacks served in the Union army and another 20,000 in the Union navy. Together, they made up about 15 percent of all Northern forces in the war. In the end, black slaves played a major role in bringing down the Confederacy. They had demonstrated that they wanted freedom and were prepared to fight for its realization. Bibliography: 1)www. ohiohistory. org%2Fhistoryworksohio%2Fclassroom%2Fplan. cfm%3Fid%3D9&rct=j&q=African+Americans+%2B+course+and+consequences+the+Civil+War&ei=1tNJS5WgJMWHuAef_-2LAg&usg=AFQjCNHpy9iiS82meKUYdoL5DSSC7zwTOg 2) American Pagent Textbook 3) Us History Textbook